All is merry and bright and full of delight as the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess transforms into a winter wonderland in the desert during its 6th annual Christmas at the Princess festival, November 19, 2015 – January 3, 2016. The enchanting AAA Five Diamond resort glistens with holiday splendor featuring a four-story musical tree, Desert Ice Skating Rink, magical snowfalls, 2.8 million Lagoon Lights, three new holiday characters and nightly visits from the jolly ol’ St. Nick himself. Here are a few highlights of the six-week celebration:
* Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony – Thursday, November 19, 2015
Pre-show family holiday entertainment begins in The Plaza 5:30 p.m.; the tree lighting ceremony is at 6:45 p.m. The Desert Ice Skating Rink, Lagoon Lights and Princess Express Train open that evening. Self-parking is complimentary the night of the tree lighting.
* The Princess is introducing its new cast of delightful holiday friends who are visiting from the North Pole: Christmas Princess Noel, Peppermint the Penguin and Selfie Elfie.
Here are a few of our returning favorites and a couple of soon to be favorites:
* Desert Ice Skating Rink
Made with real ice and surrounded by picturesque saguaros, skaters experience magical snowfalls in the warmth of Arizona. The rink is open to the public nightly, November 19, 2015 through January 3, 2016. The price per session is $15 per person and $5 for skate rental. For the ultimate experience, luxury rink-side fire pit tables with s’mores, cocktails, hot cocoa and blankets are available for evening sessions. For reservations and price information, please call (480) 513-6014.
* Princess Express Train
Guests board the Princess Express Train nightly for a complimentary ride around the Lagoon Lights. The train depot is located near La Hacienda Trellis and overnight hotel guests receive an express pass to board.
New for 2015 is a 3-D whale, five skating penguins and a 17-foot long infinity tunnel with ever-changing colors from special RGB LED bulbs, capable of 256 million color combinations. Guests will also see glowing butterflies and hibiscus in Ironwood Circle near the East Pool and lit reindeer in the forest lawn by Bourbon Steak.
* Enchanted Plaza: Musical Tree & Animated Holiday Light Show
Specially-designed for the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, the resort’s Christmas tree has 70,000 LED lights that “twinkle and dance” to 14 holiday songs in Princess Plaza, appropriately named Enchanted Plaza for the holidays. The musical tree plays from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. nightly throughout the season while the lit palm trees lining the plaza are synchronized to complement the tree’s music. During the day, this stunning four-story tree is a visual experience, with dozens of glistening snowflakes and a five-foot snowflake tree topper.
Add to that, a high-definition, one-of-a-kind animated video show features five delightful holiday scenes set to music and projected against the resort’s façade. This five-minute show plays promptly at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. nightly in the Enchanted Plaza from November 20, 2015 – January 3, 2016.
* Photos with Santa in Santa’s Workshop
Santa spends time in his workshop at La Hacienda Plaza, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., Wednesday – Sundays, November 19 – December 22, 2015 (with added dates) where the young and young-at-heart can have their photo taken with Kris Kringle. Photos are $10 and are available for immediate pick-up.
* New Christmas Petting Zoo
This year, the resort adds the Christmas Petting Zoo, open from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. during the entirety of the festival, featuring sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and an alpaca. This is located on the west side of the property and is complimentary.
* New S’mores Land & Christmas Carousel
Near the petting zoo is S’mores Land, a Christmas campfire area with seven fire pits where families can roast s’mores with packaged s’mores kits available from Kringle’s Kup. Here, families can also ride the Christmas Carousel, where dozens of galloping horses glitter ‘round and ‘round. It is open evenings and rides are complimentary.
* Fairmont Tree of Hope
During the festival, purchase a holiday ornament for $20 from the Tree of Hope in Well & Being Spa’s lobby and receive $20 off any a la carte spa or wellness treatment of your choice. 100 percent of proceeds benefits Cox Charities throughout the Valley of the Sun.
* Toys for Tots
The tree lighting ceremony kicks off the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess’ toy drive for Toys for Tots with the Scottsdale Fire Department. The resort is a drop-off location for Toys for Tots November 19 – December 20, 2015. Local residents can pull right up to the Toys for Tots box at the front drive/porte-cochere, where a bellman is happy to assist with their donation.
* Admission & Parking
“Christmas at the Princess” is open to the public. Admission is complimentary for hotel guests. Entrance fee/parking for non-hotel guests is $30 for self-parking with up to 10 people per vehicle or $40 for valet after 4 p.m. without dining. Valet/admission for local residents is complimentary when dining at any of the resort restaurants (Bourbon Steak, La Hacienda, Ironwood American Kitchen or Toro Latin Restaurant & Rum Bar) with a $75 spend. The light shows, rides on the Princess Express Train and the Christmas Carousel are complimentary. Skating, photos with Santa, shopping and dining are priced separately.
The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is located at 7575 East Princess Drive in Scottsdale. For more detailed information on “Christmas at the Princess,” please call (480) 585-4848, toll-free (866) 540-4495 or visit scottsdaleprincess.com.